GOP Fundraising

Coal miners say they were forced to attend Romney event and donate

Mitt Romney speaks to coal miners

This sort of thing has gone on for years, so from that perspective, there’s no surprise there.

However, with the Citizens United decision to allow private donors to give any amount they want, why are employers (mostly in right to work states) asking/forcing their employees to give to the politician of the company’s choice?

The Raw Story

A group of coal miners in Ohio feel they would have been fired if they did not attend an Aug. 14 event with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and contribute to his campaign — and to make matters worse, they lost of day of pay for their trouble.

In phone calls and emails to WWVA radio host David Blomquist, employees at the Century Mine in Ohio said they feared retaliation if they did not attend the Romney event.

“Yes, we were in fact told that the Romney event was mandatory and would be without pay, that the hours spent there would need to be made up my non-salaried employees outside of regular working hours, with the only other option being to take a pay cut for the equivalent time,” the employees told Blomquist. “Yes, letters have gone around with lists of names of employees who have not attended or donated to political events.”

“I realize that many people in this area and elsewhere would love to have my job or my benefits,” one worker explained. “And our bosses do not hesitate in reminding us of this. However, I can not agree with these callers and my supervisors, who are saying that just because you have a good job, that you should have to work any day for free on almost no notice without your consent.”

“We do not appreciate being intimidated into exchanging our time for nothing. I heard one of your callers saying that Murray employees are well aware of what they are getting into upon hire, or that they are informed that a percentage of their income will go to political donations. I can not speak for that caller, but this is news for me. We merely find out how things work by experience.”

Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore told Blomquist that the charges were untrue.

“There were no workers that were forced to attend the event,” Moore said. “We had managers that communicated to our work force that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend the event. We had a pre-registration list. And employees were asked to put their names on a pre-registration list because they could not get into the event unless they were pre-registered and had a name tag to enter the premises.”

“What about not getting paid for an eight-hour day?” Blomquist wondered. “If the mine was shut down for the visit, I understand, but wouldn’t it be fair — let’s use the word ‘fair’ — to still pay these individuals for that day? I mean, it wasn’t their fault they weren’t working.”

“Our management people wanted to attend the event and we could not have people underground during Romney’s visit,” Moore insisted.

“But why not still pay then their wage for that day?” Blomquist pressed.

“By federal election law, we could not pay people to attend the event,” Moore replied. “And we did not want anyone to come back and see where anyone had been paid for that day.”

Continue here…

GOP Fundraising · GOP Greed

The Future Of Political Donations In One Graphic?

Good Culture

Three years ago GOOD had the idea to plaster politicians’ financial sponsors all over their fancy suits, just like they do in NASCAR. With corporate money being such a huge part of the American political system—and with its influence set to get even bigger—it would help voters if our elected representatives were as transparent as possible about who’s backing them, and to what extent.

Reddit user crandyj1220 has followed our lead. Last week he uploaded to the social news site his own Nascar-ized politician, this one of our new Republican House speaker, John Boehner. An image like this isn’t all you need to make your decisions about a politician, of course, but it’s sure nice to know when these people are getting fat checks from tobacco companies and health insurance giants.

Ginni Thomas · GOP Fundraising · GOP Hubris · GOP Malfeasance · GOP Radicalism · Justice Clarence Thomas

Virginia Thomas builds tea party network

I wonder if the Senate, while going through the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominees, has ever ordered psychological testing for those nominees. 

I know they can’t order the examinations on the nominee’s spouse, but I swear, regarding “Uncle” Clarence and Ginni Thomas, there’s a case to be made for mandatory psych evaluations of SCOTUS nominees…


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife Virginia “Ginni” Thomas has a new job in conservative journalism that keeps her involved with the recent focus of her political activism and business dealings – the tea party movement.

As a part-time special correspondent for the Daily Caller, Thomas plans to tap into the movement, according to emails sent this month to top tea party organizers around the country, to build a list of “leaders from the grassroots in each state … who have their ear to the ground” and are willing to be surveyed weekly by two “prominent pollsters.” The results will be published on the Daily Caller website.

Thomas’s involvement with the tea party and the conservative movement in general has been a continuing source of controversy both for her and her husband.

Ginni Thomas’s 2009 creation of a tea party non-profit group for which she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed contributions, as well as her subsequent creation of a tea party consulting firm last year, has become the basis for allegations by some liberals that her husband’s impartiality has been compromised.

And her attendance at an annual summit of major conservative donors organized by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch – revealed in a recent speech by a federal judge and Thomas family ally – can be expected to draw even more scrutiny.

In remarks prepared for delivery last month to the San Francisco branch of the conservative Federalist Society, Laurence Silberman, a senior judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, blasted critics of the Thomases as “hypocrites” pushing “phony concerns” about judicial ethics, while ignoring real ones and getting their facts wrong.

Read more:


GOP · GOP Dirty Tricks · GOP Fundraising

Rachel Maddow: GOP Goal for 2012 – Spend MORE Money than in 2010 To Eradicate The Democratic Party

This may sound like one of Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories in reverse, but I urge everyone to spend a few minutes and look at Rachel Maddow, Ph.D.’s presentation about the GOP goal.  

As usual, The Rachel Maddow Show brings the truth to light.  Yet, it’s rather unnerving.

This should not be taken lightly.  My question is, why are the Democrats so damned complacent?  Oh never mind, that’s an age old question!

GOP Agenda · GOP Fundraising · GOP Hubris · GOP Obstructionism

Web Ad: Pledging Allegiance To Secret Corporate Donors

Think Progress

After reading our ThinkProgress reports on the Chamber of Commerce’s secret corporate funding, an entrepreneurial fan of our blog passed us this web ad he conceived.

The Report

Last week, ThinkProgress published an exclusive story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising operation. We noted the Chamber raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. While the Chamber is notoriously secretive, the thrust of our story involved the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Chamber staffers had been distributing to solicit foreign (even state-owned) companies to donate directly to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6).

We documented three different ways the Chamber fundraises from foreign corporations: (1) An internal fundraising program called “Business Councils” used to solicit direct, largely foreign contributions to the Chamber, (2) Direct contributions from foreign multinationals like BP, Siemens, and Shell Oil, and (3) From the Chamber’s network of AmCham affiliates, which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies. The Chamber quickly acknowledged that it receives direct, foreign money, but simply replied, “We are not obligated to discuss our internal procedures.” Instead of providing any documentation or proof to demonstrate foreign money is not being used for electioneering purposes, the Chamber launched an aggressive media strategy to first, attack ThinkProgress with petty name-calling and second, to confuse the media by highlighting the Chamber’s relatively minor AmCham fundraising, which the Chamber says (also without documentation) totals “approximately $100,000” from all 115 international AmCham chapters. The Chamber and the media largely ignored ThinkProgress’ revelation about the Chamber’s direct foreign fundraising to its 501(c)(6) used for attack ads.

Yesterday, the Chamber’s chief lobbyist Bruce Josten, who has been spoon-feeding much of the media distortions about our report, went on Fox News (whose parent company donated $1 million to the Chamber recently for its ad campaign) to again try to dilute the issue by dissembling about the Chamber’s fundraising and membership. “We have probably 60 or so foreign multi-national companies in our membership that we have had for decades, many of which have been in the United States for half a century or a century,” said Josten.

The Chamber is being deceptive. In addition to multinational members of the Chamber headquartered abroad (like BP, Shell Oil, and Siemens), a new ThinkProgress investigation has identified at least 84 other foreign companies that actively donate to the Chamber’s 501(c)(6). Below is a chart detailing the annual dues foreign corporations have indicated that they give directly to the Chamber (using information that is publicly available from the Business Council applications and the Chamber’s own websites.)

GOP Fundraising · GOP Hubris · GOP Hypocrisy · GOP Obstructionism · GOP Political Attacks · Republican Secret Donors · Republicans

Secretive Republican Donors Planning Ahead

This should come as a surprise to no one…but it’s scary as hell!

The New York Times

A secretive network of Republican donors is heading to Palm Springs for a long weekend in January, but it will not be to relax after a hard-fought election — it will be to plan for the next one.

Koch Industries, the longtime underwriter of libertarian causes from the Cato Institute in Washington to the ballot initiative that would suspend California’s landmark law capping greenhouse gases, is planning an invitation-only confidential meeting at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa to, as an invitation says, “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity.”

The invitation, sent to potential new participants, offers a rare peek at the Koch network of the ultrawealthy and the politically well-connected, its far-reaching agenda to enlist ordinary Americans to its cause, and its desire for the utmost secrecy.

Koch Industries, a Wichita-based energy and manufacturing conglomerate run by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, operates a foundation that finances political advocacy groups, but tax law protects those groups from having to disclose much about what they do and who contributes.

With a personalized letter signed by Charles Koch, the invitation to the four-day Palm Springs meeting opens with a grand call to action: “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

The Koch network meets twice a year to plan and expand its efforts — as the letter says, “to review strategies for combating the multitude of public policies that threaten to destroy America as we know it.”   Continue reading…

GOP Fundraising · Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine: Anonymous Conservative Fundraising Could Be Biggest Scandal Since Watergate

I don’t think Tim Kaine’s prediction are too far-fetched.  The entire campaign finance fiasco with The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the subsequent cover-up of its political donations appear to be very suspicious.

Huffington Post

DNC Chair Tim Kaine raised the rhetorical stakes surrounding the debate over anonymous political donors, saying that the funding revenues driving conservative groups in the 2010 elections could be the biggest scandal since Watergate.

“I think this is a huge story, it might end up being — I’m not in the [journalism] business — one of the biggest political process stories since Watergate,” said Kaine. “As we see this trend toward funding campaigns through non-reportable entities, the Democrats stand squarely for requiring disclosure of who is funding campaigns…. And I don’t think it is an accident that you are seeing this happen, happening in a major way now.”

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Thursday, Kaine’s argument echoed a fear, expressed most often by good government groups, that the dismantling of 30 years of campaign finance regulations had created a Wild West-like electoral landscape, ripe for conflicts of interest and corruption. He predicted that at the end of the election, “non-reportable spending” would dwarf “the reportable spending” on the Republican side of the aisle. And he even went so far as to claim that Republicans were fostering a non-disclosure climate to lure in big donors.

Not every development since Watergate in American politics has been salutatory,” said Kaine. “But if you were to pick one with no downside and it’s all been good I think the move towards transparency in campaign financing has been an enormously positive and a concerted decision by the other side to try and end-run that and frankly, try and use secrecy as a marketing tool – ‘Hey if you are going to give, why not give to us, no limits and we can keep it secret’ – I think that poses some very significant challenges to the institutions of democracy we have.”

And yet, by raising the specter of Nixonian political tricks Kaine was offering clear bait for the political reporters in attendance. At one point, in fact, he recalled how few journalists, save Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, originally thought that the Watergate scandal was of any real significance – enticing those in attendance to dig in deeper on the funding debate currently being waged.

“There is this battered file cabinet [at the DNC] and you pass by it a million times a day and never know what it is,” said Kaine. “It is the file cabinet that was broken into at the Watergate hotel in 1974 we just keep it around as a little memento. And we think about that recently because Watergate, you know, was a scandal that had a lot of tentacles to it. It was a break-in story that most thought was unimportant, but a couple of enterprising reporters thought it was important. But by the time it expanded it had its tentacles on a whole lot of areas including the financing of campaigns.”